Boo! Happy Halloween everybody! Want to whip up something scary-good for a spooky holiday treat? How about one with- shhhh!- secret vegetables hidden inside? Look no further, babe. You don’t need witchcraft (but if you want to, sure?). We've got a recipe here to turn a box of fudge brownie mix into- *thunder clap* Dracula's Scary-Good Brownies topped with a strawberry swirl. Leave the garlic at home, this monster doesn't bite.
Full disclosure, we wanted to take a much spookier photo. Spider webs, witchy hands, bats, fog, the whole Halloween works. We were gonna have some FUN with it gosh-darnit! So why didn't we? Because in almost the only photo we successfully grabbed of these, we already had to hide that half the freaking pan was already missing! That was unexpected, given how scary these could be: there was a whole 2+ cups of pureed beets in there! So then again, how can we really complain, because there was after all over 2 cups of beet puree in there.
Here's how to make your own! If you're the kind of cook who needs the exact recipe down to the milligram, we apologize for what this recipe is potentially going to do to you. Deep breaths, ok?
You Will Need:
- 1 box of Fudge brownie mix and the ingredients it requires EXCEPT water
- 1 can of cooked beets, no salt added OR 1 large fresh beet, peeled and cooked soft
- 1/3 to 1/2 of 1 bar of baking chocolate
- 3Tbsp butter
- 1/4 C strawberries, fresh or frozen. Raspberries would work too.
- 1-2 big spoonfuls of jam to match your berry
- Juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon (don't skimp- lemon is the antidote to beet's earthy taste)
- 1/3C cornmeal
- In a blender, puree the beets, half your lemon juice, and the liquid they were packed in until smooth. If you cooked your own beets, add a little water or cooking liquid to help your blender, about a half cup or as needed. You should end up with about 2 Cups of smooth beet puree. Set aside. Don't bother washing that blender yet because you'll be using it again before the end of this recipe and beet residue is a-ok.
- In a small saucepan on low heat, start melting the butter.
- Finely chop the baking chocolate. It should become little shards easily.
- Stir the chopped chocolate into the melting or melted butter. Keep it moving until it's fully melted and incorporated, then remove from heat. Burnt chocolate is a no-go so keep an eye on that stovetop!
- Pour the brownie mix into a bowl and add the eggs and oil according to your mix's instructions. Leave whatever water or milk is called for out- that's where your puree comes in.
- Mix the brownie mix and beet puree together; drizzle in the hot/warm buttter and baking chocolate mixture while stirring until well combined. Your batter will be wet, more like cake batter than fudge brownies at this stage. Don't wash the sauce pan from the chocolate and butter because it's got more air time on the way and the flavors don't matter.
- Slowly while stirring, add cornmeal a few tablespoons at a time, incorporating each batch fully before adding more. This is to balance the moisture in the batter. Believe it or not, it's also part of what makes these really fudge-like!
- When you've reached a batter consistency that's thick and sticks to the bowl but still semi-fluid (batter will start to seize up with too much cornmeal- add water, butter, or more beet puree if you over-shoot), let it rest for a few minutes. Time to make the strawberry swirl!
- In the blender from your beets, add your strawberries (leafy tops cut off), jam, and remaining lemon juice and pulse until it's as chunky as you prefer. Move that mix to the saucepan from earlier, and put it over medium heat. Stir frequently until the mix is bubbling and starts to cling to your spoon. The more you reduce it, the thicker it will be to a point.
- Pour and spread the brownie batter into a 9x13 pan. Dollop blobs of strawberry mix all across the top of the batter, leaving some batter as the top layer. Use a butter knife to swirl the batter and strawberry together across the top.
- Bake at 350* on the middle or top-middle oven rack, about 30-45 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. There should be no visible jiggle in the batter when you take it out.
Cool in the pan and slice to serve! The fudge-like texture slices clean, the swirl complements the chocolate all day long, and the beets are literally undetectable. Aesthetically, it's on point for Halloween. Enjoy the holiday!